Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Treats at The Pear Tree

As the years continue to pass me by, I don't put a whole lot of stock in birthday celebrations any more. I can handle being showered with affection by friends and family on the landmark dates, but I'll happily forget that the ones in between that continue to pop up.

That is unless the Significant Other is offering dinner at The Pear Tree Restaurant as a birthday treat. If it takes me turning another year older to be able to let Scott and Stephanie Jaeger wow yet again, so be it.

Knowing that it's rare visit to The Pear Tree where one of us doesn't gravitate to a pork belly or lamb dish, we decided to take advantage of the BYO rules now in place and we brought a celebratory red along with us. Not that this stopped us from ordering house cocktails and a glass of white for the lighter dishes.

Boo had forgotten to make a reservation but, luckily for us, Scott and Stephanie had room for us. Our good fortune was magnified in that Scott was working on some new seasonal dishes and, as such, was offering a tasting menu that night. I think this might be the first time I'd been privy to such a treat at The Pear Tree. So, it was a no brainer to take that route for dinner. It meant that I didn't get my fix of Scott's Twice Cooked Pork Belly and Spot Prawn Cassoulet, but we managed to keep a perpetual smile through our six courses - including halibut, duck and lamb. Oh my.

1285.  2005 Barrosa Valley Estate E&E Black Pepper Shiraz (Barossa Valley - Australia)

The wine we took with us was a fave from the Barossa Valley. We first ran across E&E Black Pepper Shiraz at a small tasting that was put together by BVE's local agent, close to a decade ago, when winemaker Stuey Bourne was in town. Following the tasting, a small gang of us, including Stuey, took in another couple of bottles in Yaletown before Lady Di and I took our "early" leave on a school night. Now, Stuart Bourne has a rep of being a wild one - even for an Aussie - and I understand the balance of the evening included a trip to the Roxy and a little "more cowbell" with the band on stage.

I may not have made it to the Roxy that night, but I did head immediately to one of the specialty liquor shops and grabbed a couple bottles of the E&E. They aren't the easiest of wines to come across.

I think it's fair to say that some of Stuey's big personality shows through in his wines and the Black Pepper Shiraz is his icon. Stuey has since left BVE and moved to another Barossa stalwart, Chateau Tanunda, but the '05 vintage was definitely his. The BVE website states that the "Black Pepper Shiraz is the pinnacle of Barossa Shiraz, representing the best parcels of Shiraz that Barossa has to offer." The '05 vintage saw three vineyards selected from nine different blocks in the northern Barossa. It's big. It's beautiful. And, with a $100 price tag, it's a special occasion wine.

An occasion, much like a birthday dinner at one of the best restaurants in town.

I mentioned the halibut, duck and lamb that we enjoyed. I've yet to mention the chicken and waffles that we were fêted with. This is a new combination to me - although I understand it's quite popular in the States - but I told Stephanie (and Scott) that they were welcome to come by and serve me waffles (with or without the chicken, but preferable with) any morning that they'd like. In fact, I think I said that, if need be, they could come over and get hooched the night before, stay in the spare bedroom and get up to cook breakfast at whatever time struck their fancy. We're taking tasty here.

And, I'm hoping this isn't the last I see of this dish. I think it could easily be a long term fave on the menu.

As we were leaving to head home, Boo and I were thinking exactly the same thing. I'm not sure who verbalized it first, but we both agreed that we need to make it back to The Pear Tree so much sooner than later. Celebration excuse, or not.

That is, unless the Jaeger's take us up on our breakfast offer first.

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